Oman


Public Authority for Consumer Protection power curb triggers debate in Oman


The social media was abuzz with discussions on the decision to curb the powers of PACP. - File photo

Muscat: Several members of Majlis Al Shura have expressed disappointment over the decision to limit the authority of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), to control the price of only 23 products.

Sultan Al Abri, a member of Majlis Al Shura, said in a radio interview, "Most of these products are items of daily need. However, other important commodities like construction materials and car accessories will be subject to the supply and demand in the market. This is not right."

This decision, he feels, favours the traders, and does not take into consideration the needs of the consumers, especially the low income group.

Al Abri told Times of Oman that the Majlis Al Shura will organise a session to discuss the consequences of this decision, adding, that he had requested the Food Safety Committee (FSC) and the legal expert at the Majlis Al Shura to issue a statement condemning the decision of the Cabinet.

"The FSC will also request the presence of the PACP chairman to confirm our support to them," said Al Abri.

Meeting on June 17
Meanwhile, Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Said bin Saleh Al Kayoumi, chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) will meet businessmen, importers of consumer goods besides distributors and wholesalers of other items in Oman on Tuesday.

They will discuss the decision of the PACP. The meeting will debate on the mechanisms to deal with the decision.

It will also discuss the amendments that are proposed to be introduced to the Commercial Agencies Law, which prohibits being an exclusive agent, and allows import of goods without the approval of local suppliers.

A discussion on the consensus made on Competition and Anti-Monopoly Law will also be held.

PACP's purview
The products that come under the purview of the PACP include rice, flour, oil, ghee, sugar, salt, tea, coffee, lentils, kidney beans, broad beans, chickpeas, mash, tomato sauce, toothpaste, laundry soap, fresh and frozen meat, fresh and frozen fish, fresh and frozen chicken, condensed milk, powdered milk, and dairy products including fresh milk, cheese and butter.

The social media was abuzz with discussions on the decision.

"We have urged the PACP to monitor the prices in Ramadan as many traders find it the best time to raise the price," said Haron Al Hasni, a private sector employee. He added that the Cabinet was expected to support the PACP, and not to restrict its power.

"The role of the PACP is to protect the consumers from greedy traders and suppliers," he said.

As per the No 12/2011 law, the price rise in case of any commodity was under the jurisdiction of the PACP.

However, the Cabinet has decided that the PACP will be authorised to control the prices of only 23 products while the prices of other commodities will be guided by the market forces. The decision was approved by the Cabinet in its meeting No 7/2014, held on March 4, 2014.

(With inputs from ONA)

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